The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is one of the most important temples in all of Christendom. Not surprisingly, this church is supposed to have been built onMount Golgotha , on the very site where Jesus Christ was crucified, and where he was subsequently buried until his resurrection.
A place revered since ancient times, in fact theEmperor Constantinewas the one who had a great basilica built here which, according to his own words, should be “the most beautiful of the earth". We must not forget that Constantine made Christianity official in the Roman Empire. However, hardly anything has survived from that original temple to this day, after suffering repeated destruction and fires.
Exterior of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
Today it is a most curious building, in which, above all, the numerous existing chapels attract attention. And curiously, these chapels have different rulers, since the Sanctuary of the Holy Sepulchre, or Church of the Resurrection as it is also known, is managed by very diverse religious communities. There are the Copts, the Orthodox, both Greeks and Armenians, or the Syrians, among others. And of course Catholicism is also represented with the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land, who have been the guardians of this place since the 14th century by order of the Pope.
In all that entrance of chapels, we must highlight Calvary, where the hole in which the cross of Christ was nailed is venerated. And it's there too, the anointing stone, where Jesus' body is supposed to have been anointed right after the descent.
That is the prelude to the most monumental area of the temple. It is called Rotunda, due to its circular floor plan covered by a dome supported by strong columns. In that space is the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre. That would be the specific place where Christ remained buried for three days, before he was resurrected.
The Rotunda inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
For all that has been said, for its history, for what it shelters, for being run by different religions, for being in Jerusalem and for being a neighbor of other evangelical places such as the Via Dolorosa del Calvario , the Mount of Olives or the Garden of Gethsemane, it must be said that this is a different temple. It is unlike any other church we know of. In fact, its access has a facade that in no way anticipates what we are going to see.
And once inside you can see that the base is a basilica plan with several naves, but completely broken by the presence of numerous chapels, arranged with a really chaotic appearance.
We have already said that there was a first construction in the time of Emperor Constantine in the fourth century. But what we see today is mainly the work of the mid-twelfth century whenrebuilt by the Crusaders.
Anyway, we are in a place that is surely more than a work of art or architecture, and even non-believers are capable of capturing the spirituality that this space transmits.